Got an MP3 player? Chances are you don’t use it a great deal as it has been kind of superseded by the Swiss Army Knife of gadgets – the smartphone. With Spotify on mobile devices as well as the seamless integration of iTunes on the iPhone, there doesn’t really appear to be much of a need for standalone MP3 players.
And their decline has been confirmed by figures today from research organisation Mintel which says that sales of MP3 players have fallen by nearly a fifth to £381 million this year compared to 2011. Mintel predicts that sales will halve again by 2017 and virtually disappear within five years.
Samuel Gee, a technology analyst at Mintel, told The Telegraph that the decline in MP3 sales is “unlikely to reverse”.
“It is impossible to talk about the current PMP market without extensive reference to smartphones. The devices have directly contributed to the sharp decline in the value of PMP sales.”
He added that MP3 players are being “steadily outshone” by increasingly affordable new technologies, like smartphones.
I am guessing here, but it would seem that the one MP3 player that still sells well is the iPod nano which maintains a significant share of young women and pre-teens.
One music format which appears to be making a very real comeback is vinyl records. In a wonderful article in The Guardian John Harris put the case for vinyl records and highlights their recent rise in popularity.
We await conclusive British figures for 2012, but last year there was a quantum leap in sales of new vinyl albums, which were 44% up on the figures for 2010. Anecdotal evidence suggests the consumers responsible are not just hard-bitten types – men, usually – of a certain age, but much younger people. And the phenomenon extends across the industrialised world: the same pattern is evident in the UK, the US, Australia, Germany – and even cash-strapped Spain.
Harris makes the point that digital music leaves us in a state of twitchy impatience – hands hovering over the mouse which will move us to the next track. This obviously isn’t the case with vinyl records.
We’ll look at the demise of CD and whether that is a good or bad thing, later in the week. In the meantime I am off to give the above record a spin.